Is the law done away with (2 Corinthians 3:7)?


By BibleAsk Team

2 Corinthians 3:7

Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth the following: “…the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away” (2 Corinthians 3:7).

The passage here says that the “glory” of Moses’ ministration of the law was to be done away, but not the law itself. As we examine 2 Corinthians 3:3-9, we find that the subject is not the doing away with the law or its establishment, but rather, the change of the location of the law from “tables of stone” to the “tables of the heart.”

The Law in the Old Covenant

The Lord wished to have His Ten Commandments written in the hearts of the people who in turn promised that they would do that themselves. They said, “All that the Lord hath spoken we will do” (Exodus 19:8). But the people relied on their own works instead of letting God do the work in them. Here, lies the premise of the weakness of the Old Covenant in that it was dependent on the promises of people.

This weakness of the Old Covenant was not in the commandments over which it was made, nor in God’s part of the agreement, but in the human element. “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah . . . For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts; And I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people” (Hebrews 8: 8, 10).

The Law in the New Covenant

In the New Covenant, God makes the promises instead of the people. God does that which men tried and failed to do in the Old Covenant. Human weakness did not allow them to keep their promise of obedience to God’s holy commandments. Falling short under the Old Covenant, the New Covenant was made in which God promises to live in our hearts and supply us with the strength and grace to obey. Therefore, in the New Covenant it is not the works of the flesh, but “Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:27).

The Old Covenant was by works, sacrifices, and ordinances. The New Covenant is by faith in the promises of God. This fact does not mean that the New Covenant cancels out obedience to God’s word and commandments but rather it makes it possible for us to keep them through Christ dwelling in our hearts. The apostle Paul declared, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:13).

Paul summed up the matter of obedience to the law by saying, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law” (Romans 3:31). And Jesus taught, “If you love me, keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Love should be the motive for obedience. Therefore, obedience that comes from force or fear is not the ideal kind of obedience.

The Law Cannot Be Done Away With

The Law cannot be done away because Jesus said, “It is easier for heaven and earth to pass, than one tittle of the law to fail” (Luke 16:17). And He also said, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law. … I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. … Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matthew 5:17, 18). Jesus specifically asserted that He did not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill (or keep) it. Instead of doing away with the law, Jesus magnified it (Isaiah 42:21) as the perfect guide for right living.

The law that was abolished at the cross is the Mosaic Law. For more on this, see: What was abolished at the cross?

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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